Led by North Carolina's Eric Ebron, the 2014 tight end class is believed to be one of the best in years. The top of the group is composed primarily by underclassmen, with Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz being the lone exception.
Depending on how the next two weeks go, tight end could either be a non-issue for the Packers or their biggest need on offense. While Jermichael Finley hasn't received medical clearance from team doctor Pat McKenzie, the feeling around the league is the tight end will play again. Accordingly, head coach Mike McCarthy refuses to rule out a return.
"Pat [McKenzie] doesn't feel the same way about Jermichael as he felt about Nick [Collins]. So I'm very open and optimistic about Jermichael coming back. I think the specifics of their injuries are different."
Still, unless and until a new deal is signed with Finley, Thompson and the front office will approach the draft as though they need a tight end.
Eric Ebron - North Carolina
Entering the combine, most draft pundits labeled Eric Ebron the top tight end in the draft. To solidify that standing, Ebron needed a strong performance at the combine. He didn't disappoint. Ebron measured in at 6-4, 250 with 10" hands while running the second fastest 40 time (4.60 seconds) among tight ends. His size and athleticism compares favorably to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.
C.J. Fiedorowicz - Iowa
The elder statesman of the group, C.J. Fiedorowicz was viewed as the most well rounded tight end of the class albeit not a deep threat. The Polish Hat may have changed that perception somewhat, running the 6th best time (4.76) for a tight end. While that's faster than expected, any team adding Fiedorowicz is doing so for his blocking and ability as a red zone target. On those fronts, the Iowa product had the 5th highest rep total in the bench press (25) and the best three-cone performance (7.10 seconds) at his position.
Jace Amaro - Texas Tech
Calling Amaro a tight end is a bit of stretch. He played almost exclusively in the slot at Texas Tech, only lining up in line in some goal line packages. However, he looks like a tight end at 6-5 and 265 pounds, making him one of the bigger such players in the draft. That makes Amaro's 40 time (4.74) all the more impressive.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Washington
The bad break for Austin Seferian-Jenkins wasn't a poor showing in the drills, it was one in his foot. During the medical check portion of the combine, doctors discovered a pre-existing condition in the Washington product's left foot. This prevented Seferian-Jenkins from participating in any of the workouts save for the bench press (20 reps).
Colt Lyerla - Oregon
The wildcard in the class is former-Oregon Duck Colt Lyerla, an athletic but troubled player kicked off his college team and already on his second agent. Much like the NFL's perception of him, Lyerla had a mixed performance at the combine. He ran one of the faster 40 times for a tight end (4.61 seconds), but also benched a position-low 15 reps while making waves for his conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shooting. Ultimately, Lyerla's negatives outweigh his positives. With Aaron Hernandez persisting as a black eye for the league, most teams will remove Lyerla from their draft boards if they haven't already.